Yes, this is a version of the ubiquitous Nobu-style black cod with miso. I hadn't made it in a very, very long time for no good reason really. I made in constantly back in the early 2000's and felt it high time to bring it back into the rotation. It reminds me of my dear friend, Holly, an accomplished chef, who I was just getting to know during my obsession with this dish. We were working on a project together and had to travel to a meeting about 20 minutes away. She was pregnant and ravenous. Out-of-control-I-can't-focus-hunger that can only come from having a baby in your belly. I suggested that we stop by my house because I had great leftovers. Little did I know, she been to Alaska on her honeymoon and had eaten so much salmon that she had sworn it off for good. Well, until she tried this and proceed to eat it. ALL. And still talks about it today. She even half-named her child after me.
If you are not familiar with miso, it's a 2,500 year-old staple in Japanese and Chinese diets made from fermented soybeans and sea salt. I encourage you to seek out the non-pasterized version with is loaded with enzymes which helps to stimulate digestions and can be very detoxifying.
It's great go-to recipe for a large dinner party because you crank so much flavor out of one completely do-ahead component it's ridiculous. It's a little salty, a little sweet with just the right amount of umami. Furthermore, it turns non-fish lovers into worshipers.
I like to serve this with some black forbidden rice and steamed snow peas. You can reserve some of the marinade to dot the plate, too, if you want to be extra fancy.
miso salmon + wine pairing
about 1.5 lbs salmon (or black cod, artic char or chicken), cut into 4 equal portions
for the marinade:
1 c mirin
2 c miso paste
3/4 c sugar
Bring the mirin, miso and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir until all of the sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.
Cover the fish with the marinade, cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.
Heat your broiler to high. Position the rack at about the top 1/3 but not too close to the heat source. If you have a convection broil setting, this would be a perfect time to use it.
Line a baking sheet with foil (trust me) and arrange the portions of fish, carefully shaking off any excess marinade (but not wiping any off).
CAREFULLY broil until very golden. The sugar in the marinade can go black very quickly so you have to keep very close watch. Turn off your broiler and switch your oven to 400º and continue to bake until your preferred doneness. The whole cooking process should take about 10 minutes. Plate and serve immediately.
And what to drink with such an interesting dish? A ice cold glass of sake topped with a slice of cucumber would be nice. But if wine is more your style, read on:
One word comes to mind when thinking of this dish: Mouthwatering. We’re talking salty and sweet here, and there’s no better combo when it comes to your taste buds.
Salmon is certainly not shy in the flavor department and when prepared Nobu-style, marinated in miso, mirin, sake, and sugar, you have no choice but to dig in and devour…and enjoy a wine of equally mouthwatering proportions of course!
Your best bet is to stick with a light to medium-bodied white that is a bit on the off-dry side. That’s not to say sweet by any means—acidity is key here and will harmonize well with the sweetness of the miso and sugar. A dry riesling, an Alsatian gewurztraminer, pinot blanc, or even an Austrian welschriesling will bring out the best in this salmon, making you unable to say anything except, “Mi-so satisfied.” Apologies for the cheesy pun - but it’s true.
Here’s what we suggest:
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